Eight Ways to Get Rid of Clutter in the New Year
If you’re feeling the urge to let go of the old now that the New Year is here, there’s no better time to purge clutter. And there are health reasons to do so.
In fact, women who describe their homes as cluttered or filled with unfinished tasks are prone to higher levels of depression, fatigue and the stress hormone cortisol, according to researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles.
And guess where that ill health is mostly likely to show up? On your skin.
If the thought of decluttering overwhelms you, the tips below will make the tasks manageable, if not effortless.
As you clear away the clutter physically, don’t be surprised if your mood improves and you find a new excitement about the fresh start the New Year brings.
Work with Your Clutter Style
Everyone has a clutter style, including you. And if you know yours, you can work with it rather than against it. QuickQuid put together a great infographic, where they discuss the five clutter styles:
- Behind closed-door clutterer: You appear organized but you’re not. In fact, behind those kitchen cabinets, closet doors and chest drawers lay bundles of clutter.
- How to work with it: For each area, discard anything you don’t immediately love.
- Knowledge clutterer: You’re addicted to books, magazines, travel guides and newspapers. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t read them.
- How to work with it: Get rid of anything you haven’t read in the last year.
- Sentimental clutterer: You keep everything such as your teenager’s baby shoes or the tickets to a sports event on your husband’s birthday.
- How to work with it: Condense mementos to one box and let go of the rest.
- Throw it all away clutterer: Your style can be fast and furious and filled with regrets later. You spontaneously purge without thinking twice about it.
- How to work with it: Declutter once a week only.
- Accumulator clutterer: “If I own it, I’m better off.” That’s your motto. You keep excessive amounts of things on hand “just in case.”
- How to work with it: Designate one supply area and stop buying when that area is full.
Identify which type of clutter style you have, so you can execute a plan that’s specifically addresses overcoming why you accumulate clutter.
Create a Command Center
Set up a command center for the items you want to discard, especially if you have a lot of clutter.
Set up three bins and label them “Yes,” “No,” and “Maybe.” If you’re unsure of an item, put it in the “Maybe” bin and revisit the item later after you’ve had a chance to think about it.
Designate types of “No” bags for trash, giveaway, books, online sales, and friends. Add additional bags depending on the destination of the clutter, such as a local women’s shelter.
You can easily label items that will go somewhere other than in the trash, such as to a friend who has always loved the item, with artist’s tape, which is available at a craft or art supply store.
Divide to Conquer
The idea of decluttering an entire house demands that you divide the territory up and prioritize where you’ll start.
Declutter areas can include:
- General areas
- Kids’ spaces
- Home office
Once you’ve designated the areas, prioritize them according to the greatest need. For instance, if you never can find your car keys, the place to start may be in the kitchen area, where you invariably place your keys on the counter.
Schedule Tasks & Take Your Time
It took time to create the clutter, so it will take time to let it go. Accept that. And then schedule time on your calendar, as you would a business meeting or a soccer practice, to accomplish the tasks.
When that scheduled time comes, take your time with each item, and ask yourself:
- How does the item make me feel?
- If you could only have 30 pieces of clothes, would this be one of them?
- Would this be one of 20 books you would keep?
- With art, if I could only have 3 pieces, would this be one of them?
- Who would love it more than me?
- When is the last time I used or wore the item?
Visualize What You Want to Achieve
So much of reaching a goal is having a vision for that goal and then identifying the specific tasks that will enable you to create that vision.
To create a vision for a decluttered space:
- Draw a floor plan of each room, including what will be where, what will be hidden, how people will move through the room, and more
- Clip magazine photos of how you’d like a room to look
- Bookmark ideas on Pinterest
- Steal a friend’s clever idea, such as a unique way of organizing a child’s closet
Focus on ONE Thing at a Time
This is not the time to test your multi-tasking skills. Instead, focus on one task at a time, one area at a time and one part of that area at a time.
And be realistic. If you only have 30 minutes, don’t tackle the kitchen. Select one area, such as the kitchen sink, and one part of that area, such as the supply area under the sink, to clear out, clean, declutter and organize.
Take Five Minutes a Day
If your time is tight, you can still declutter in five minutes a day. Yes, really.
Below are some ideas for five-minute decluttering:
- Designate a spot for incoming mail
- Clear off a counter
- Pick a shelf and organize it
- Schedule a decluttering weekend
- Find places for five things
- Put a load in your car for charity
- Pull out two or three clothing items you don’t wear
- Clear out a medicine cabinet or bathroom drawer
Remember Forgotten Areas
Forgotten areas contain clutter and they also cause you to waste time. Remember the time you spent hunting for an email or a file you know you saved?
Hidden areas worthy of decluttering can include:
- Over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Examples include vitamins, topical creams, and more
- Old make-up: Mascara is good for three months, eye shadow for one to two years, and eyeliner expires in three to six months
- Your computer desktop and file directories. Take 15 minutes a day to create directories and subdirectories, and to clean out your email
- Jewelry you don’t wear. If it doesn’t provide instant satisfaction, let it go
- Old technology. Old cell phones, computers and more can often be donated to the local computer store to be repurposed for a good cause, or recycled
Reduce your stress and have clearer skin by making a conscious choice to start this year off right. Declutter your home and your life by getting rid of what you don’t need. Make this the year you intend to live a healthy life beautifully!
Want to learn more about how to live a life beautifully? NuGlow® can help! Comment below and tell us what you want to know about lifestyle choices that affect your skin or the issues you’re struggling to overcome in your skincare routine!
About the Author:
M. Carolyn Miller is a freelance writer who specializes in thought leadership blogs, feature articles, and more. Check out her website at www.cultureshape.com.
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